Want to give back to the earth when you pass? Here’s an amazing new option sidestepping traditional cremation and burial — both of which take their toll on our environment. A funerary urn made from biodegradable materials can turn your remains into a tree after you die. Each urn contains a tree seed and is ready to plant, growing into your favorite tree — Ginko, Maple, Oak, Ash or Beech.
Two Part Urn
These urns generally consist of two parts: The top part is a sealed unit that contains pro-growth soil to ensure the seed remains healthy until it begins to sprout; the lower capsule stores the ashes of your dearly departed. Both compartments are kept separate until the urn biodegrades into the planted soil. The quantity of ashes placed in the urn won’t upset the delicate nutrient balance required for the tree’s growth. Ash is good for soil and potassium has been known to encourage the growth of plants and trees. Before burying the urn, you’ll need to add some soil native to where you want to plant the tree to ensure proper seed germination. The tree initially grows in the top part. Once the urn begins to degrade, the entire container becomes part of the sub-soil and fertilizer for the tree.
Buy Now, Plant Later
Available for both people and pets, these urns can be purchased years ahead of their use. The materials stay “active” as long as they remain in a relatively cool environment—below 90°F and at relative humidities of 60 percent or more. Typically, they can be planted wherever it’s legal to plant a tree—even your backyard. Some burial sites and cemeteries work with Parks and Forestry authorities to allow these urns to planted along trails or in parks where trees are protected.
Lower Carbon Footprint
While cremation does require energy, the total carbon footprint still favors cremation and via biodegradable urn. That’s because in its lifetime, a tree will purify the air for years, even decades to make up for the offset. According to Be a Tree, this offers better overall land stewardship for those opting for cremation.
image credit: Bios Urn